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Injury patterns in female Irish dancers. PM R 2010 Nov;2(11):1030-4



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OBJECTIVE: To determine the type of Irish dance injuries requiring evaluation and treatment by a sports medicine physician.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional retrospective chart review.

SETTING: Academic sports medicine center in the Midwest.

PARTICIPANTS: Female Irish dancers who presented at an academic sports medicine center from June 2002 to September 2009.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: This was a retrospective chart review identifying injuries sustained to female Irish dancers in a single Irish dance company in a major metropolitan area. Dancers were evaluated and injuries were diagnosed by one sports medicine physician at an academic sports medicine center.

RESULTS: Sixty-nine female Irish dancers, ages 8 to 23 years, sustained 217 recorded injuries. The top injuries included stress fractures (29.9%), patellofemoral pain syndrome (11.1%), Sever condition (6.0%), ankle sprains (5.1%), posterior tibialis tendonitis (4.6%), and plantar fasciitis (4.6%). The most common site for stress fractures were the sesamoids, comprising 27.7% of all stress fractures and 8.3% of total injuries. The majority of injuries were in the lower extremities (94.9%), remaining injuries involved the lumbosacral spine and pelvis (5.1%). Most dancers (79.7%) had multiple injuries. The number of injuries per dancer increased as the dancer's level increased. There was a trend for the average age of the dancers to decrease as the level of skill increased.

CONCLUSION: Lower extremity injuries comprised the majority of Irish dance injuries. Stress fractures (29.9%), patellofemoral pain syndrome (11.1%), and Sever condition (6.0%) were the most common injuries.

Author List

Noon M, Hoch AZ, McNamara L, Schimke J


Anne Hoch DO Professor in the Orthopaedic Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Fractures, Stress
Leg Injuries
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Retrospective Studies
Wounds and Injuries
Young Adult